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Timeline of Intergenerational Child Maltreatment: the Mind–Brain–Body Interplay

  • Complex Medical-Psychiatric Issues (M Riba, Section Editor)
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Abstract

Purpose of Review

Still obscure mechanisms of intergenerational child maltreatment (ITCM) have been investigated partially, from various psychological and biological perspectives and from various time perspectives. This review is aimed at integrating the findings on different temporal ITCM pathways, emphasizing the mind–brain–body interplay.

Recent Findings

Psychological mediators of ITCM involve attachment, mentalization, dissociation, social information processing, personality traits, and psychiatric disorders. Neurobiological findings mostly refer to the neural correlates of caregiving and attachment behaviors, affected by several physiological systems (stress-response, immune, oxytocin), which also affect physical health. The latest research clusters around the epigenetic pathways of ITCM, suggesting the additional, prenatal, and preconception forms of transmission.

Summary

Data suggest that ITCM needs to be conceptualized as a longitudinal process, with various interrelated psychological, neurodevelopmental, and somatic paths. Future research and prevention should take into account both, each path and each phase of ITCM, in an integrative way.

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Correspondence to Dusica Lecic Tosevski.

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Marija Mitkovic Voncina, Milica Pejovic Milovancevic, Vanja Mandic Maravic, and Dusica Lecic Tosevski declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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The editors would like to thank Dr. Harrison Levine for taking the time to review this manuscript.

This article is part of the Topical Collection on Complex Medical-Psychiatric Issues

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Mitkovic Voncina, M., Pejovic Milovancevic, M., Mandic Maravic, V. et al. Timeline of Intergenerational Child Maltreatment: the Mind–Brain–Body Interplay. Curr Psychiatry Rep 19, 50 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11920-017-0805-7

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